A Group Giveaway!

We’re celebrating suspense and romantic suspense over at my group blog, Not Your Usual Suspects and giving away books!

Five Reasons to read a Romantic Suspense or Mystery E-book

1. It’s a safe way to explore those murderous tendencies

2. You’re less likely to get in trouble with the law

3. A great way to test your puzzle solving skills

4. Share the excitement but not the danger

5. There’s romance along with the danger


Enter our contest and enjoy the benefits of reading a wonderful romantic suspense or mystery by a Not Your Usual Suspects author. Complete the rafflecopter below and go into a draw to win a romantic suspense or mystery e-book.

Here’s a Rafflecopter giveaway




Happy Book Anniversary to Eve Devon

I had the pleasure of meeting Eve Devon last year when her debut release, The Waiting Game, hit the streets. She shared the locations that inspired the setting for her novel here. A year later, she’s just as gracious. Let’s celebrate her novel’s first anniversary!

So, here’s Eve –


So The Waiting Game turns one year old today and as it was my debut book it got me thinking about all the firsts I experienced with its publication.

This year has flown by, but I can still remember the flutter in my heart when I first saw ‘copyright by’ and the copyright symbol next to my name.

And seeing my cover for the first time? I can admit that it took me a while to realize Big Ben was in the background—I was distracted by something in the foreground. Abs can say so much, don’t you think?!

Then there was seeing my book appear on all the bookseller sites that I usually purchased books from. Typing in my name and having my book pop up to buy—yep, total rush!

But as I raise my glass in celebration of The Waiting Game being out a year, the absolute icing on the cake was the first time a reader took the time to contact me and tell me how much they enjoyed my book.

I think that’s why all the firsts surrounding the release of your debut book are so special. The fact that people are prepared to take a chance on a new voice and without any pre-judging dive right in for an adventure, well, it’s the greatest of compliments. It is also why writers write—to share a story.

If you’ve been looking for the next adventure to dive right into, then consider the wait over! Here are all the details you need to immerse yourself in The Waiting Game:

The Waiting Game:

Five years ago a madman stalked her. Kidnapped her. Tattooed her.

TheWaitingGamex500When security expert Cameron Dexter—the man Brooke Bennett once loved—appears unexpectedly at her door with terrifying news, the former musician discovers she can no longer hide from her past. After five years, her vicious kidnapper is out of prison and on the hunt—for Brooke.Now he’s returned to complete his art.Cam failed to protect Brooke once before. Now he’d rather die than let her be captured. With her life at stake, Cam vows to keep her hidden and safe.

Brooke, however, is done with running. Unlike Cam, she wants to stand and fight. Emotions both old and new roil between them, but addressing their heated past must wait. Together they set a trap in London to catch a killer. But they soon discover the enemy wears many faces…

And waiting is no longer an option.

Buy links:

Amazon   Barnes & Noble   iTunes   KOBO

About Eve Devon:

Eve Devon_author photoGrowing up in locations like Botswana and Venezuela gave me quite the taste for adventure and my love for romances began when my mother shoved one into my hands in a desperate attempt to keep me quiet during TV coverage of the Wimbledon tennis finals! When I wasn’t consuming books by the bucketload, I could be found pretending to be a damsel in distress or running around solving mysteries and writing down my adventures.

As a teenager, I wrote countless episodes of TV detective dramas so the hero and heroine would end up together every week. As an adult, I worked in a library to conveniently continue consuming books by the bucketload, until realising I was destined to write contemporary romance and romantic suspense myself. I live in leafy Surrey in the UK, a book-devouring, slightly melodramatic, romance-writing sassy heroine with my very own sexy hero husband!

Where you can find me:



My Writing Process

Writing processes are as individual as the authors. This blog tour has been fascinating, as I’ve read “behind the scenes” with these talented authors. YA suspense author Ana Kenley invited me on to join the fun. (Check out her process here.) So…let’s talk writing process…

What am I working on? I’m working on two manuscripts right now. Edits for a suspense, Cypher—a 2009-12-23 10.13.12finalist in a several contests as Sins of the Father. The story revolves around the theme, How far will you go for those you love? I love that my beta readers grabbed me, demanding the next segments to find out Who. Did. It?

To balance the darkness of Cypher, I’m also writing a light amateur sleuth set in a small town in the Cascades. Stay tuned—this one’s still evolving.

How does my work differ from others of its genre? Readers tell me they like my author “voice,” and the way the setting becomes a character in the story. Maybe it’s due to a visual storytelling style, maybe the deep point of view I love. Probably it’s really because I’m Southern and our roots run deep, wherever we happen to live.

I also hear that my characters are “real.” Smart, successful women readers want to hang out with—go to Happy Hour, share confidences, ask advice. Men who live down the street—good at their jobs, confident in their ability, sometimes they remember to cut the grass. My stories always have a relationship element, since it’s a huge part of real people’s lives and it makes for great conflict to amp the main plot.

Why do I write what I do?  While I read across the spectrum, I especially love mysteries and suspense. Throwing characters against challenges and crises, making them find the courage and strength to survive and overcome. Dreaming up the plot twist that turns the story upside down. And to my worried friends, I only kill people on paper.

How does my writing process work?  My first book was simply an outpouring—characters and actions flew from my fingers. As I studied the craft of writing, I discovered I’d instinctively set up the four-act classic structure, but I had a lot to learn about “conflict”—at least as it applied to fiction. Since I write mysteries, I usually have the main points of the story figured out before I start writing. Sometimes I work forward through the investigation. At others, I work backwards—what does my character need to know to reach this place or conclusion? How can I set the breadcrumbs up to lead her there? The subplots, themes and nuances appear as I write, which makes it fun and exciting to see what happens next.

Generally I read the previous section before moving into the next scene, getting deeper into my character’s mind as I tackle the next challenge. I fix obvious issues as I go, so I have a fairly clean manuscript when I finish. At that point, I outline. I know, sounds backward, doesn’t it? But that way, I can see balance—is one character taking over? Is subplot A carried through the story? Is scene X necessary or can the key part be introduced somewhere else? I also read the story aloud. What a fantastic way to catch awkward sentences and keep my characters’ actions and dialogue believable.

Echoing Ana, if you have any questions about how my writing process works, please feel free to contact me or comment below. I’m always willing to answer questions.

Next week, three of my writer friends share their writing processes. On May 5, 2014, turn your browsers and your attention to Marilee Brothers, Zoe Forward and Mia Marlowe.


Marilee Brothers is a former teacher, coach and counselor. The author of eight books, Marilee and her husband are the parents of three grown sons and live in central Washington State. After publishing six young adult books, Marilee is currently hard at work, writing an adult romantic suspense. She loves hearing from people who have read her books. Feel free to contact her at www.marileebrothers.com.

Zoe Forward writes adventure paranormal romances. She lives in the south with her family and an assortment of pets. She’s always had a special love of archaeology, especially anything Egyptian. Although a deep part of her wishes she had pursued a career that would have her at a dig site in a hot, sandy country, she’s a small animal veterinarian, caring for everything from chinchillas to dogs…and even one hermit crab in there. When she’s not being a vet, a mom, or sneaking out to a movie with her husband, she’s at her laptop writing. Visit Zoe online at zoeforward.com

Mia Marlowe didn’t intend on making things up for a living, but she says it’s the best job she ever had. Her work was featured in the Best of 2010 issue of PEOPLE magazine. One of her books is on display at the Museum of London Docklands next to Johnny Depp memorabilia. The RITA nominated author has over 20 books in print with more on the way! Mia loves art, music, history and travel. Good thing about the travel because she’s lived in 9 different states, 4 different time zones. For more about Mia’s books, visit http://www.miamarlowe.com/blog/ 


Merry Post-Christmas

I thought about writing something profound for today, reflecting on the season. Instead, I found myself looking back at an astonishing year and forward into the Great Unknown.

Mostly I thought about our mountain property.

I wrote my very first blog post (ever) right here at Blame It On The Muse, almost exactly two years ago – I Didn’t Get a Tractor for Christmas.


Since then, I’ve shared bits and pieces about our adjustment to rural life. My husband and I actually enjoyed clearing the property (for a while there, we were in a close personal relationship with the guy at the county dump!) and loved watching the birds and critters who showed up on the new paths through the woods or at the pond and river.

We’ve met most of the people in our valley and enjoy the genuine friendships that aren’t looking to further a career or do anything other than get to know you.

This fall, we’ve begun working on house plans. Sure, we have a small weekend place that will one day be a guest house (fabulous for the two of us). It’ll be interesting to have both kids, spouse, and multiple dogs here for several days. Let’s just say the sleeping arrangements will get creative. 🙂

The further we got into the planning process, the more the reality of the transition took hold. In order for us to live here full-time, my husband has to take early retirement. With my day job, I can work anywhere, as long as I can access the internet. Not possible with my husband’s career.

That Next Great Transition is what taps at the back of my head as I wrap the last presents, grocery shop and plan meals. Part of me leaps at the opportunity for travel, for not being tied to his work schedule. Another part worries, have we saved enough money. And another part thinks, Oh my (fill in your own blank), he’ll be home All The Time.


So, what transforming events do you see on your planning horizon?


Writing news update – the MysteryThriller Horror Box Set is still on the Amazon Top Ten in its category and For Love or Money will be included in Entangled Publishing’s Valentine’s Day Boxed Set, releasing January 27, 2014!.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays! 

This post originally appeared at my group blog Blame It On The Muse



Ultimate Mystery Thriller Horror Box Set copyHave you noticed all the boxed sets featuring multiple authors? I started seeing them on Amazon a few months ago and thought it would be exciting to be involved with a great group of authors in a boxed set.

As some of you know, I’ve started promoting with the Indie Book Collective in their Free Par-Tays and cross-promotions. Until now, promotion has focused on our own book. In boxed sets there’s a much closer connection—a mutual effort.

I’ve wondered, if everyone promoted one unit would it make a difference? I paid attention to other collections and was pleasantly surprised to see they were doing very well indeed.

So when a couple of the members from our group decided to published three of the boxed sets, I not only ended up in one of the boxed sets, I ended up producing all three!

Now I’m proud to share with you that we have three boxed sets available, including wonderful award-winning authors, many Amazon best-sellers, and the most exciting bit of news is this…

For a limited time only, the boxes are priced at only $0.99

It’s a sweet bargain, so grab your copies now.

You might want to check on these sets periodically to see the how the set perform. Right now they are all in the Amazon Top 100 for their respective category’s Anthology and The Mystery/Thriller/Horror Box is at #7! 


Triple Box Set (Romance, Mystery, Thriller, Romantic Suspense, Horror) – 99c each Limited Time Offer

Red Mountain Publishing is Pleased to Announce Three Boxed Sets Packed Full of Romance, Mystery, Thrills and Suspense and YES, HORROR!!!

For a limited time get 21 full length novels for less than $3.00 from bestselling authors Taylor Lee, J. Thorn, Lorhainne Eckhart, Mimi Barbour, Helen Scott Taylor, Rebecca York, Mona Risk, Nolan Radke, Thomas Morrissey, and more. [Click on Boxed Set Image to BUY or scroll to Amazon links below.]


Happy Halloween! Act Fast because the Deal may not last!
This post/announcement originally appeared on my group blog Blame It On The Muse

Guest interview – Rebecca Clark

We’ve had lots of guest on Blame It On The Muse – and we love them – so it’s really fun to “introduce” one of our own – Rebecca Clark – who just released a new book.

Rebecca J. Clark has wanted to write romance novels since she read her first Harlequin Romance at age eleven. When she’s not writing, she works as a personal fitness trainer and group exercise instructor, where she teaches Pilates, fitball and yoga. She feels very lucky to have not one, but two dream jobs: writing and fitness. Other jobs she’s worked at over the years include portrait artist, marketing director, and graphic designer. She makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two kids, a German Shepherd beast, two cats who plot to kill the dog, a rat that comes when he’s called, and a dead gecko. In her free time, Rebecca enjoys reading, watching Criminal Minds reruns on TV, and doing absolutely nothing.

I’m excited to share Rebecca’s latest story with our readers. SHAMEFUL is the prequel to SHAMELESS, which released earlier this year (to terrific reviews, I might add).

Here’s the blurb for SHAMEFUL:

Sammy Jo’s a good girl and always plays by the rules. Okay, maybe that makes her a little boring. But tonight, she’s breaking out of her shell. She’s sneaking out of her house and going to a college party with her best friends. So what if her instincts tell her she’s making a big mistake? Instincts aren’t always right, are they?


Good morning, Rebecca! I see you have your coffee and it looks like you’re headed to the gym. Thanks for stopping by the Muse this morning.  We want to hear all about your writing and your new book. 

Q – You write contemporary romance, both sweet and hot. Would you say Shameful is sweet, hot or both?

Rebecca – It’s really neither. Although Shameless (the full-length novel is quite hot), Shameful is set 20 years earlier, back when my heroine Samantha was young and somewhat naive.

Q – What made you decide to write Shameful from Sammy Jo’s perspective?

Rebecca – A reader asked me what Samantha was like as a younger woman, if that tragic night from the prologue changed her. That got the wheels turning in my head, and I decided to find out by writing her story.

Q – You’re a self-avowed panster. Do you ever hit the wall or find you’ve written yourself into a corner? How do you turn that around?

Rebecca – I write myself into walls several times each story. That’s better than walking into walls though, eh? 🙂 Seriously though, I’m trying to become more of a plotter because it takes me so long and so many drafts to get through a single book. It’s all about the characters though—usually the hero. If I get stuck, it’s generally because I don’t know enough about my hero. But I don’t know who my characters are until I write the book. See my problem????

Q. What are you working on right now? Can you tell us about it?

Rebecca – I am working on a hot category-length romance about a tortured MMA fighter and the sweet yoga instructor who helps him heal. And that’s all I’ll say about it (probably because I haven’t started writing it, so I don’t really know much more about it…).

Okay…enough with the business questions! How about some fun stuff. You know, just between the two of us.

Rebecca – Ha ha. Just us and the hundreds of people who read this blog, right???

Q. The opportunity to go on a surprise vacation arises. You have 90 minutes to pack and get to the airport. Where will you go and what will you pack?

Rebecca – If I only have 90 minutes to pack and this is a surprise, then I won’t be going any place that requires shorts or bathing suit attire. That kind of vacation takes several months of extra-hard gym workouts. I’d love to go to a health spa, where all your meals are made for you and are healthy. And there are countless fitness classes to take. Where I can hike every day. And where it’s nice, quiet and peaceful…the perfect place to write.

Q. Are you more likely to be spotlighted on the TV show Hoarders or Fashion Police?

Rebecca – Ha ha ha ha! If Fashion Police is all about crappy fashion, then it’s a toss up. I wear gym clothes all day, every day (I work at a gym). If I dress up as far as jeans and makeup, my kids and husband are convinced I’m going somewhere. I’m not a hoarder, but I hate to throw things away. I like to SEE all my stuff. Clutter is my friend. It drives my neat-freak hubby crazy. But that’s what wives are for, right?

Okay, your turn. Do you have a question for our readers?

Rebecca – My husband and I were just discussing this last night… When reading a book, do you ever read the last page before you get to it? Depending on the book, I definitely will. If the author is going to kill off the hero or heroine (hello, Nicholas Sparks) I want to know. Then I’ll stop reading before I waste any more time.

What about you? Do you ever read the ending first?


If you leave a comment on the blog between now and October 31 you are automatically entered into the Halloween Spooktacular Giveaway — a big tote bag of books.

Note – the contest is closed and the winner notified.


Books I Want To Write

I woke up this morning, opened my trusty Mac, and stared blearily at the insistent calendar reminder. My eyes popped open at the announcement. BLOG. DUE.

To which my mind mumbled. NO. CLUE.

Swiftly followed by, thought it was tomorrow!

So today’s blog topic is brought to you by my friend Josh, who borrowed the inspiration from his friend, Chris. Hey, what are friends for if not inspiration and help?

Let’s talk about Books Not Yet Written.

If you’re a writer, what books would you like to write? Maybe they’re planned; a half-done, shoved-in-the-drawer WIP you aren’t sure how to finish; or maybe you don’t have the guts to write them yet? But go ahead, what would you (really) like to write?

And readers, here’s your chance to submit your literary grocery list. What books would you like to see? Maybe from a specific author, but maybe just in general. What are you in the mood for? What do you see a need for?

Go ahead and share.

You will notice I’m not offering my own book ideas. But I will. I’ll put them in the comment section as soon as I think of them. There’s nothing like being startled before your coffee frees up the creative flow. 😉

* * * *

If you leave a comment on the blog between now and October 31 you are automatically entered into the Halloween Spooktacular Giveaway — a big tote bag of books.

Note the contest is over and the winner notified.

This post originally appeared at my group blog, Blame It On The Muse


The Two (Suspenseful) Sides of Cathy Perkins

Today I want to offer a warm welcome to Cathy Perkins, an award-winning author (and Golden Heart Finalist) of compelling-yet-terrifying suspense stories and lighter mysteries with a financial twist. After I read The Professor (which was fan-tabulous and kept me up reading all night!), I knew I wanted Cathy to spend the day with us.

Cathy: Good morning Sharon! Thanks for letting me hang out with the Romantic Suspense authors at Kiss and Thrill. I released two books this summer which are shelved as romantic suspense, The Professor (Carina Press) and For Love or Money (Entangled Publishing), but (shh, confession!) mine are really mystery/suspense with a romantic element rather than romantic suspense.

Sharon: That’s okay, Cathy. We love all kinds of suspense and mystery stories! When we chatted about this post, you mentioned you write both dark and light stories. Care to explain that comment?

Cathy: Sometimes writing in a different genre (paranormal or YA rather than suspense, for example) will keep ideas fresh for an author. I find writing different kinds of suspense stories stretches me as an author (and hopefully makes me a better one).


As far as “light” and “dark” suspenses goes, just like romantic suspense has varying degrees of heat between the hero and heroine, mystery/suspense can contain degrees of darkness. All suspense novels have a villain who places the hero/heroine—or the world—in danger and shows the dark underbelly of human nature. Tapping into the inherent conflict between right and wrong, good and evil, makes for some interesting stories. The best ones are page turners that keep you up past your bedtime. Now not all suspense novels keep you awake, afraid to turn off the lights (although a few of Patricia Cornwell’s had me wondering if that sound was a house noise or an axe-murderer breaking in—I had to back off of those!), but there’s always a sense that Something Really Bad will happen if the heroine doesn’t unravel the mystery, find the killer, defuse the ticking bomb or stop the assassin.

Sharon: I can honestly say The Professor kept me up all night worrying about axe-murderers breaking in!  Where do you think the dividing line between “light” and “dark” stories lies?

Cathy: Maybe it’s the tone of the story that makes people label a story “light” or “dark,” but the protagonist plays a role in the distinction for me. In The Professor, the main character is a state law enforcement agent who matches wits with a serial killer. Mick O’Shaughnessy must stop The Professor before he kills again. Readers tell me the scenes from the Professor’s point of view are deliciously creepy. (We are so not delving into anything that might say about me! No axe-murdering!)

For Love or Money

At the other end of the “darkness” scale, For Love or Money, an amateur sleuth mystery, is told from Holly Price’s perspective. A CPA (Certified Pain in the Ass according to the killer, and maybe according to the detective on the case), Holly relates to elements in the victim’s personal life, giving her a different motivation to ask questions and dig into details that don’t add up (in her opinion). She ultimately solves more than one crime, and makes the villain angry enough to come after her in the process.

Sharon: Oh, so the story is light or dark, depending on the POV character? Or is it the emotional tone of the book?

Cathy: Hmm… Good question. While I mentioned that the main character drives the investigation and influences the way that investigation is handled, the emotional depth of the characters is a good indicator of the degree of darkness. I find the emotional depth comes from the characters’ inner conflicts, which may include a relationship issue. Maybe that’s why romantic suspense is so successful—integrating the external conflict with the relationship issues, drawing the hero and heroine together to overcome obstacles.

But I digress. 🙂

Many mystery/suspense authors completely avoid any relationship in their books. Jonathan King’s debut, The Blue Edge of Midnight, is a wonderfully atmospheric (very dark) suspense, whose guilt-ridden protagonist is in as much conflict with himself as he is with local law enforcement. At the other end of the spectrum, I think it’s safe to say Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum stories don’t spend much time on introspection. (Although Stephanie does have a relationship issue or two 🙂 )

Honor-Code-500x700 1027 version

Like many of my favorite mystery/suspense authors, I always include a relationship element in my stories. I say “include” because the relationship (the romance) isn’t the primary focus of my books as it is in a romantic suspense. The emotional conflicts—romantic or other personal ones—flavor and complicate life for the main characters. They sharpen external conflicts when the internal conflicts force the main character to change and grow.

Now that I think about it, maybe the “light” or “dark” aspect is how deeply the story delves into the villain’s mindset, either directly through POV or indirectly through the investigation. Both draw the reader deep into a life or death situation.

Sharon: I think both of your answers are right. The light/dark issue is played out through the villain’s POV as well as the internal conflicts of the hero and/or heroine. But the villain POV scenes are usually what add the extra terror! What prompted you to change from dark suspense to lighter mysteries?

Cathy: I can only write so many dark stories and research really awful things people do to each other before I need to take a break. One of John Douglass’ (top FBI profiler) books gave me nightmares. Clearly, it was time to lighten up!

I also find darker stories like The Professor revolve around the actual investigation and the law enforcement officer, which means understanding how the detectives approach a case. Readers, including some from law enforcement, complemented me for “getting it right.” (I have wonderful resources; thanks y’all!) The lighter stories allow more latitude. With For Love or Money, Holly can do her thing, while JC’s over there doing whatever it is cops do. In her role as friend, confidant, or professionally as an accountant, Holly has access to people and information that would be more difficult for a police officer to obtain. She definitely does things no police officer could get away with.

Sharon: Do you decide ahead of time what type of book you want to write? Or is the type (light or dark) dependent on the characters who show up in your head?

Cathy: I’m drawn to darker stories, wanting to know the “why” behind a villain’s motivation as well as enjoying matching wits between my protagonist and villain as the investigation unfolds. It’s a choice for me to write something light when I need the emotional break.

I recently finished another dark story which my agent has on submission. I’m supposed to be working on Book 2 for Holly and JC (a sequel to For Love or Money that’s under contract) but this really dark story showed up and the characters will not leave me alone…

Sharon: I can’t wait to hear more!  And now for one of my favorite part of the interviews–the blurbs.


This post originally appeared at the Kiss and Thrill blog and included excerpts and a giveaway 🙂





Renewal has been bouncing around my head this week. I’m not sure why… Maybe it’s the dangling lure of “hang on, vacation’s coming.”

Maybe it’s an overdue library book.

I made a quick check of definitions and generally got the unhelpful, “the act of renewing or state of being renewed.”


But then I found, “filling again by supplying what has been used up.”


That’s it. Filling again. Used up.

We all reach that point, don’t we? It’s not just the muse taking off for vacation without you. It’s too many months of burning the candle at both ends and melting it in the middle, until it’s All Used Up.

The muse is still in there, frantically waving signal flags. Plot lines of stories surface at random times and new ideas pop up, but other than jotting a quick note, there’s no time to write. To contemplate. To get lost in a story.

So, renewal.

Supplying what’s used up. I’m completely open to suggestions.

How do you refill your well?

Originally posted at Blame It On The Muse, our group blog